Heyer Novel Chronology

Georgette Heyer did an enormous amount of research for her novels and often enjoyed not including specific dates in her novels, preferring instead to date them by period events or even costumes. Below we have a list that Susan, Kate, Katherine, Laura and others from the Listserv have compiled that lists the dates of those books that we have been able to figure out.

For example, Robert has sent in information on The Nonesuch, Prudence has provided extra information on Arabella and The Talisman Ring and thanks to a comprehensive analysis of These Old Shades and Devil's Cub from Mark.

Title Year Clue
The Conqueror 1028-66 Birthdate in text, Battle of Hastings
My Lord John 1393-1413 Dates in Chapter headings
Simon the Coldheart 1400-18 Simon is 14 at beginning, 17 in 1403, seige begins in 1417
Beauvallet 1586 Date given in text (ch. 6)
Royal Escape 1651 Battle of Worcester
The Great Roxhythe Opens: 1668, Closes: 1685 [Chap. 1] He was very exquisite, this gentleman, adorned with all the coloured silks, velvets and furbelows which that Year of Grace, 1668, demanded.

[Chap. 8] Hardly a fortnight after the King's death, my Lord Sunderland waited on Lord Roxhythe at Bevan House.

The Masqueraders 1746 Just after the rebellion of '45
The Black Moth 1751 Mrs. Fanshawe met Jack "three years ago" in '48, at the end we are told that "Miss Gunning is to marry Coventry." (They married on 5 March 1752.)
Powder and Patch 1753? Sir Maurice married 1729, Philip is 23 (allow 1 yr. to birth)
These Old Shades 1756 Avon involved in rebellion of "ten years ago", the 8th prince of Condé was 20 in 1756, and the book has a "day in November" after "sold Léon to the Duke a month ago."
Devil's Cub 1780 24 years after These Old Shades as Dominic is "Twenty-four all but a month or two".
The Convenient Marriage 1776 Horry's godfather and namesake, Horace Walpole was "rising sixty" years old. Edward Heron (Horry's sister's sweetheart) was wounded in the Battle of Bunker Hill (June 1775) and sent home to recover.
The Talisman Ring 1793 The French king just lost his head: Sylvester says "How long is now since they sent the King to the guillotine? Over a month, eh? Mark me, Tristam, the Queen will go the same road before the year is out."
Faro's Daughter 1795 New unpowdered heads and Max's cropped hair (Pitt's tax on powder in 1795), late queen of France (1793), and Deb's dress at Vauxhall
Regency Buck 1811-12 Date of letter in text (ch. 1)
The Corinthian 1812/1813 Cedric Brandon says he will have Sir Richard bye him a pair of colors and go off to the Peninsula.
The Spanish Bride 1812-15 Battles of Peninsular War -- Badajos thru Waterloo
The Reluctant Widow early 1813 The secret plans are for Wellington's campaign in the spring, and he may march on Madrid again (Madrid - June 1812). It seems to be winter in England also, as it's cold and Nicky and John are shooting rabbits.
Sprig Muslin 1813 Brigade-Major going to Spain, after Salamanca and Gareth's brother died at Salamanca.
April Lady 1813 Battle of Lutzen "The victory of Bonaparte at Lutzen over General Wittgenstein, commanding the combined forces of Russia and Prussia, had not long been known in London, and was still being much discussed."
A Civil Contract 1814-15 Waterloo
An Infamous Army 1815 Waterloo
The Grand Sophy 1816 Sophy was in Brussels "last year" (Waterloo)
Bath Tangle 1816 Glenarvon published, many other clues
Cotillion 1816 Meg's husband goes to China with Lord Amherst.
The Nonesuch 1816/1817 Sir Waldo asks of Miss Trent's father: "Was he engaged at Waterloo?"
Miss Trent refers to her brother serving in the Army of Occupation in France (which was withdrawn in November 1818).
It was also after the war that Leeds became a boom town, leading to the blackening of the houses (from the steam engines driving the mills), and the slums which aroused Lord Lindeth's social conscience.
The Toll-gate 1816/1817 Captain Staple had resigned his commission and rejoined as a volunteer for Waterloo.
The Quiet Gentleman Spring of 1816 In Chapter 1: But the seventh Earl, surviving a minor, but rather bloody engagement at the village of Genappe, and a major engagement at Waterloo, still showed no disposition to return to the home of his ancestors... Not until twelve calendar months had passed since his father's death did his cousin, and the Dowager Countess, receive tidings from him that he was in England, and about to take possession of his inheritance.
Friday's Child after June 1816 "Waterloo was a year ago last June; I make it eighteen months"
The Black Sheep 1816/1817 Stacy Calverliegh cannot open a gambling house in Paris because "with Napoleon on Helena, all the English are flocking to Paris".
The Unknown Ajax 1817 Hugo's father died in 1793 when Hugo was 3 and Hugo is now 27. As well, in Ch.6;
"Good God, have you been engaged for two years?" she exclaimed.
"Better nor that," he said. "It was in the Spring of '15 that it happened, and now we're in September."
Charity Girl 1817? Occupation Army in France, Napoleon on Helena
False Colours 1817 Christopher's father had died in 1816: "Lord Denville had died, quite suddenly, in the early spring of 1816; and since that date, some fifteen months previously, Lady Denville had not set eyes on her younger son."
Arabella Spring of 1817 Arabella received an invitation "to have the honour of meeting Her Majesty the Queen"
(Queen Charlotte died in November 1818)
Mr Beaumaris is "quite the most noted figure in society since poor Brummell was done up!"
(Brummell fled to France in 1816)
The reference to the fate (in the previous year) of the Master (Chimney) Sweep, Mr William Molys, whose trials for the death of a boy in his employ took place in 1816. He was first tried for the murder of the apprentice, John Hewlings, and acquitted, then indicted for assault on the same child, found guilty, and sentenced to two years imprisonment.
Mr. Emden in "Regency Pageant" gives the date of 1819 (which may be a typo) for 'Golden' Ball Hughes' inheritance, and says that he inherited from his step-father, Admiral Sir Edward Hughes, and took his step-father's name. The only thing he doesn't say is where he got this information. Gronow merely says that Ball was at Eton with him, and that he was left the fortune by his uncle, Admiral Hughes, but no date. Admiral Hughes died in 1794.
Lady Bridlington's visit to the British Museum to see the Elgin Marbles after she has already seen them twice (they were purchased by the government in 1816).
(thanks Wendy!)
Sylvester 1817-18 18 months after publication of Glenarvon
Cousin Kate 1817/1818 Kate is 24 now and was 12 when Mama died in Portugal (e.g. during the Peninsular Wars). Papa sold out after Waterloo (June 1815) and he and Kate set up house in London Kate began her governess career with the Astley's in the autumn and was there for 6 months. It was this following spring that the events took place.
Logic: Papa is unlikely to have run through his prize money by fall of '15 so earliest date is spring of 1817. It is entirely reasonable that they made it another year before the tax cart got him. Any much later than that begins to grow unlikely because the wars would be "old news" and not discussed with as much interest (and everyone seems to be quite interested in Kate's reminiscences).
Lady of Quality 1817/1818 Contradictory dating? Lucy's father died 10 years ago at the battle of Corunna (1808) -> 1818 and the death of Princess Charlotte - 1817.
Frederica 1818 (of a temple in Green Park): "erected there as part of the pageantry of the Peace celebrations in 1814, but as this temporary structure had been demolished, Charis thought, four years, later, that the Green Park was hardly worth a visit."
Alverstoke is three years Brummell's junior (Chap. 6) and he has given his age to Frederica as 37 (Chap. 3). Since Brummell was born in 1778, Alverstoke must have been born in 1781, therefore it is now 1818.
The Foundling 1818 "The old Queen seems to have recovered from the spasm she suffered in the spring."... and "Then we had Clarence's marriage in July:...". William, Duke of Clarence married Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen on the 11 July 1818. Queen Charlotte's spasm was supposedly caused by hearing that her daughter-in-law (and niece) the Duchess of Cumberland, to whom she had denied the court, had somehow gone behind her back and met with her newest daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge (again, married in 1818). The opening chapter mentions an "autumnal mist" but no "large shooting parties until November", so approximately Sep-Oct 1818.
Venetia 1818 Sir Francis died 3 yrs ago, just after Waterloo (ch. 1)

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